Eli Koplevitch: Endless Rain into a Paper Cup

Curator: Danielle Tzadka-Cohen

11/01/2024 -


Eli Koplevitch: Endless Rain into a Paper Cup

In the exhibition Endless Rain into a Paper Cup, artist Eli Koplevitch — a member of Kibbutz Dafna in northern Israel, currently evacuated from his kibbutz and living in Kiryat Tivon—presents paintings on paper and two video works. Ordinarily, he works in the kibbutz’s minimarket and calls himself a “galactic greengrocer.” Concurrently, he follows a permanent routine: every evening he paints with brush and ink on paper in a format that “can fit into a box of soup almonds,” he says. In the video Vegetables and Paintings— showing a still-life composition of candles, flowerpots, and children’s toys arranged on a tablecloth—against the background of the Steely Dan song “Deacon Blues,” Koplevitch talks about this split in his life: he spends his days with vegetables and consumer goods, and in the evenings he paints, restlessly.

The exhibition spans associative paintings, combined with texts that offer a humorous peek into his inner world and the memory of the Yom Kippur (1973) War, during which he was “reborn,” as he puts it: his lanky figure is portrayed next to tanks and fighter planes, against the backdrop of a sun that turns into an octopus or a daddy long-legs, into exploding stars or spaceships from another planet. In some of the paintings he looks monumental and heroic, in the company of leading artists who have gained international success; in others, his figure is integrated with their figures, and his name is intertwined with theirs. ”I don’t paint anything specific”—says the artist who stars in the paintings, as if trying to avoid definitions. His unique practice and the small dimensions of the papers classify his work as an intimate diary in progress, in which he processes the memories that have stuck with him since 1973. Against a contemporary reality that floods the public space with images of the 2023 war, his work introduces timeless representations of war. The media reports in the first days of the Gaza war are also presented in the video Paintings from the Basement mediated by representations created by Koplevitch, as drawings in a small sketchbook. In his work over the years, Koplevitch has explored the hierarchical relationship between margins and center, between the difficulty of making art in everyday life and the yearning for the glitz and glamor of the art world.

“Staging an exhibition is a way to show people my inner world, something I do only for myself, so that people can see that I do it only for myself to show people”.

Installation photographs: Youval Hai